What is Scotomisation?


Scotomisation is a psychological term for the mental blocking of unwanted perceptions, analogous to the visual blindness of an actual scotoma.


Reviving in the 1920s a term initially used by Charcot in connection with hysteria, the French analysts Rene Laforgue and Edouard Pinchon introduced the idea of scotomisation into psychoanalysis – a move initially welcomed by Freud in 1926 as a useful description of the hysterical avoidance of distressing perceptions. The following year, however, he attacked the term for suggesting that the perception was wholly blotted out (as with a retina’s blind spot), whereas his clinical experience showed that on the contrary intense psychic measures had to be taken to keep the unwanted perception out of consciousness. A debate followed between Freud and Laforgue, further illuminated by Pinchon’s 1928 article on ‘The Psychological Significance of Negation in French’, where he argued that “The French language expresses the desire for scotomisation through the forclusif.”

Decades later in the 1950s, the question of scotomisation re-emerged in a phenological context under the influence of Jacques Lacan. Lacan used scotomisation to represent the ego’s relationship to the unconscious – speaking of “everything that the ego, neglects, scotomizes, misconstrues in…reality” – as well as to challenge Sartre’s concept of the gaze. Most significantly of all, however, he developed it into his influential update of Pinchon’s concept of foreclosure, thus endowing that idea with a conflation of visual and verbal elements.

Book: Mental Health Atlas 2017

Book Title:

Mental Health Atlas 2017.

Author(s): World Health Organisation (WHO).

Year: 2017.

Edition: Denoted by year.

Publisher: WHO.

Type(s): Paperback and digital.


The Mental Health Atlas series is considered the most comprehensive resource on global information on mental health and an important tool for developing and planning mental health services within countries and regions.

The Mental Health Atlas 2017 acquires new importance as it includes information and data on the progress towards the achievement of objectives and targets of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020.

You can a download a free copy of the Mental Health Atlas 2017 here.

Book: Mastering the World of Psychology

Book Title:

Mastering the World of Psychology.

Author(s): Samuel E. Wood, Ellen Green Wood, and Denise Boyd.

Year: 2019.

Edition: Sixth (6th).

Publisher: Pearson.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.


Mastering the World of Psychology, 5ed, provides students with more support than ever before, thanks to the Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review Learning Method, or SQ3R, which is integrated throughout the text. SQ3R shows students the relationship between psychological theory and learning. It is the strongest and most comprehensive programme for measuring progress and attaining successful outcomes in Introductory Psychology.

MyPsychLab is an integral part of the Wood/Wood/Boyd program. Engaging activities and assessments provide a teaching and learning system that measures students’ success. With MyPsychLab, students can watch videos on psychological research and applications, participate in virtual classic experiments, and develop critical thinking skills through writing.

Causes of Mental Illness

Currently, mental illness is thought to be caused by a complex interaction of factors, including the following:

  • Hereditary;
  • Biologic (physical factors);
  • Psychologic; and/or
  • Environmental (including social and cultural factors).

Research has shown that for many mental health disorders, heredity plays a part. Often, a mental health disorder occurs in people whose genetic make-up makes them vulnerable to such disorders. This vulnerability, combined with life stresses, such as difficulties with family or at work, can lead to the development of a mental disorder.

Also, many experts think that impaired regulation of chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters) may contribute to mental health disorders.

Brain imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), often show changes in the brains of people with a mental health disorder.

Thus, many mental health disorders appear to have a biologic component, much like disorders that are considered neurologic (such as Alzheimer disease).

However, whether the changes seen on imaging tests are the cause or result of the mental health disorder is unclear.